Digital minimalism

Over the past year, I have been trying out the digital declutter. I was inspired by the Digital Minimalism written by Cal Newport. I loved every content of the book and highly recommend it for anyone to read.

In the beginning, when I was decided to read this book, my biggest question was ‘Does this really make any sense? Can we live without the digital presence? The world we live in is full of digital noise, we are glued to our mobile phones/ glued to social media platforms. Will it be practical to try out digital minimalism? But I was wrong, all his recommendations and advice are practical enough. Cal doesn’t ask you to delete/remove your presence from day 01, instead, he will take you through the pros and cons of digital minimalism and asked you to take a 30-day challenge. After this trial period, you can evaluate yourself 🙂

Here are two main lessons that I’ve taken from Cal’s book to my life.

Avoiding social media

We are the generation of people who are glued to electronic devices. It is really hard to do any work without having interruption from these devices. How many times we get our phone, open up Facebook/Instagram and just scroll down without any purpose?

The urgency to scrolling the feed, posting something, or getting a ‘like’ has a scientific explanation. It causes by dopamine. Dopamine is produced in two areas of the brain. The first area helps us begin movements and speech and the second area sends dopamine to the brain when we expect a reward.

If the experience is good, then you will get more dopamine. It is a completely natural process. However, If you take drugs you can have a huge boost of dopamine and when you have a huge boost of dopamine, It makes you need more. Hence the reason for addicts is getting more addicted to drugs. Interestingly, there are studies show that your brain produces dopamine when you are using social media and getting more likes/reactions. It keeps you high and that’s why you are getting addicted.

What happens when we see the pretend perfection of others’ lives? You can feel deprived. What happens when you don’t see anything entertaining or satisfying? You feel annoyed. And all sorts of other negative feelings creep in.

The above explanation was good enough for me to start avoiding social media. I must say it was a bit hard at the beginning. Creators designed these platforms to keep you engage at all times and to make you say no to leave them.

As a first step, I’ve removed all the social media apps from my mobile phone including Facebook/Twitter and Instagram. Then I’ve used a URL blocker (BlockSite) to block social media apps on all my computer and mobile devices. Now even though I wanted to open a Facebook / Twitter link, BlockSite gives me a nice little message.

Blocking Facebook
Nice Try – No more social media

Now there is no chance of ‘accidentally go’ into Facebook and spending a good amount of time without even knowing 😉

Additionally, no one actually gives a dime when you leave social media. In fact, no one has time to check your existence. Because all of them have their own business of scrolling down.

Leaving mobile phone out of the bedroom

I had this bad habit of scrolling my mobile device when I’m getting ready to sleep. As in using social media, what happened was I glued to the device for several minutes without even understanding and eventually lost a good amount of time from my sleep.

To avoid this I formulated a new habit of not taking my mobile device to the bedroom. I setup ‘Do not disturb’ after 11 pm and keep the device outside. This helped me to stop using my mobile when I’m getting ready to sleep.

Also, I set up the ‘Downtime’ on my device. During this ‘Downtime’ only apps that you choose to allow and phone calls will be available

There are amazing benefits of being a digital minimalist. I don’t say that I’m fully in control of my digital life. I still need to work on limiting my communication channels (WhatsApp/Emails) and maybe the Netflix. But for sure I’m in control than before.

If someone asks me the question whether I will ever use Facebook/Twitter again my answer would be Yes, I will. But not the way I used to do it. I will still use them – I may still publish my Youtube video links on social medial. But I will use them with a purpose!

May all you have the strength to control your digital life!

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